Grant Recipient

Boy Scout Troop 1532 Provides a Welcoming Gateway to Annandale

Boy Scout Troop 1532 member Matthew Sonnen joins Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross and a 495 Express Lanes team member at a new sign welcoming visitors to Annandale.

About the Matthew Sonnen Eagle Project

Matthew Sonnen’s Eagle project got started with a simple idea – to beautify the Annandale area and provide a more welcoming environment to travelers.  The result of Matthew’s hard work was a transformed, manicured roadside that provides a welcoming gateway into the Annandale community.    

Eagle Scouts have the opportunity to complete a major service project that benefits their communities.  Boy Scout Troop 1532 member, Matthew Sonnen, chose to improve his community by installing an “Annandale Welcomes You” sign and new landscape design to a grassy area next to Gallows Road that was overgrown with weeds and littered with trash.

“A key part of an Eagle project is that the Scout must do most of the planning, coordination and execution of the project independently,” says Tom Sonnen, Matthew’s father.  “He met with the County to learn about their welcome signs, he met with sign contractors for design ideas…had meetings at the site with a VDOT landscape designer and met with VDOT traffic engineers.”

The Eagle project provided Matthew with a better understanding of coordinating and planning events, leadership and managing volunteer workers and a greater appreciation for the processes VDOT has in place for projects.

495 Express Lanes Grant Program Support

Over the course of five weekends, Matthew led a group of boy scouts from Boy Scout Troop 1532 and adult volunteers to clear the project site.  Together these volunteers built a framework to support the sign, installed the landscaping, mulched the area and watered the new plants.  

The grant funds provided by Transurban assisted with the welcome sign, materials needed for the volunteers and the landscaping of the project site.  “Transurban, Supervisor Penny Gross’ office, VDOT and other staff members were fantastic in helping a teenager navigate the processes and make this vision a reality,” says Sonnen.

The 495 Express Lanes team chose to support the Matthew Sonnen Eagle project as it falls directly in the 495 Express Lanes project corridor – adjacent to the Capital Beltway at Gallows Road.  Additionally, the rehabilitated median will beautify the area, benefit local citizens and businesses and showcase the Annandale community for many years.

Boy Scout Troop 1532 has agreed to provide annual upkeep of the site as an annual service project to maintain the area indefinitely for the Annandale community.

More Information

To learn more about Boy Scout Troop 1532, visit: